This is a mini-guide for Sicily (XL Mod)

The main premise is the threefold strategy that Sicily enjoys and how it can tackle those issues...

So this mini-guide is in 3 parts....all starting Early XL

Main ideas:

1) Allies are never for long.. one must backstab and betray with the best of them.
2) The Med is YOURS.... and nobody elses...
3) How to deal with the Pope/Crusades.. carefuly.. be opprotunistic
4) How to deal with "outsiders" (non-med cultures).. they're vermin...use them economically
5) ALWAYS have extra troops for an opprotunistic land grab (rebels, etc)

Part #1

Eastward ho!!

My main idea here was to ally with the Novos, Eggys and take Constantinople...and to use the Mongols to my advantage...

economically: go slow, take out Naples immediately...build up economics/morale, as this will be a land military with transport support...

So you first two provinces will be Naples, Greece and so declaring temporay truces to the Byz will be a constant thing...

In the beginning, you want to ally with the Serbs, Eggys, Cuman to apply pressure to the Byz...only keep the Byz at neutral or ally with them and backstab at your leisure.

Econ ally everybody else pretty much for trade goods and bringing in $.

You will use Greece as your beachhead and launch your attacks northward with the aim to take & hold Constantinople

So by the time you take out the Byz in Europe, the Eggys take the Byz out in Asia Minor...KEEP THEN ALLIED (for now), Also keep the Novos as neutral or better yet, allies...

I then went to take out the Serbs & next the Cuman...

That way I conquered the Balkans once I finished taking the Hungarians lands...and with the ex-cuman areas, I now had access to the Black fleet silk-road (Crimea)

So in the east, there were 3 of us.. Novos, me and Eggys.. until 1231 when the Mongols arrived..:) In the West, I owned South & East Italy and Corsica/Sardinia ... so one might say I have 2/3 of Itally unified anyways..:P

Now the Key is with the Mongols, they had south to weaken the Eggys, which of course you take advatage of since the Novos are too busy fighting the Mongols..:P

So use that small transport fleet to punch a hold ANYWHERE on the african coast to get 2 or 3 stacks thru to take out north africa quick and start the invasion of Asia Minor itself...

Be opprotunistic!!

In 1 wave, the Eggys basically comminted suicide thru civil war and I swept in with high-star generals and grabbed the crusader states areas too...And the Eggys WERE the richest nation with the Biggest military out there too...

Currently it is 1250 and I am allied with the Mongols, Neutral to the Novos and the Eggys are nearly dead...so the backstab too just 20 years for me to basically OWN the Eastern Med...

At this point, of course, by taking the Eastern Med isles, you've either transfered your ships east or built up a decent fleet for support..

I don't know what I am making for $, but owning the Balkans, most of Italy, most of Asia Minor, the old Eggy lands... I figure I am making a bundle..:P

Part #2

United Italy

This one is several backstabs, using spies, assassins and tempory truces to of course take Italy an dleave nothing but Rome for the Pope...Have everybody in the east as your trade partner, try and get France, Spain, ALmos, HRE in as well to vboost income thru trade

The Thing here is to be at near constant war with Genoa...and leaving the Pope as an ally or neutral (at worst)

The first thing I do is of course take Naples and soon (if you can) ally Byz as an trade partner

1) take Naples
2) take Corsica/Sardinia
3) BUILD UP!!!! Econ/Morale
4) make sure all lands have border forts

so make that fleet strong.. I had 15 gallies, keeping the Genoese/Vatican honest and fleetless...:P

I used a dirty trick here.. making Grand Inquisitors and going after the enemy generals..lol and I used top-o-the-line assassins to go after emmisaries/princesses since they use them as spies ALL the time.

5) Attack Venice BY LAND! The trick here is to attack Tuscany, weaken thier forces and head to Venice to take it, that way, you can easily watch the backside of the Genoese/Papacy...
6) Take Milan and finish off the Venetians...

At this time.. you can do 1 of two things.. go after Tuscany or go after the Papacy (Papal States)

I would go after Tuscany, and let the Papacy complain, then take the Papa States one Tuscany has been taken...since you can always attack ROme to keep them VERY WEAK and not in any mood to bother you...

I actually accidently took over rome once since the initial defense was took weak and they surrendered..lol, so be careful to leave them alive.. (for now)

7) Finish off the Genoans...

At this point, Ally with the Spanish or Almos (whoever owns Spain)

Italy is basically yours...

Now, it should be around 1180

What I did was to grab some money making land to boost my income so I could build up a land force...

I declared on the Eggys and swept thru North Aftrica.. You can declare on the Almos since your after those Gold/Copper Mines and trade goods...

So by 1200, you should have the Central Med locked up due to your strong fleet that has been there from day 1, and now with the $, building up a land force to hold any ressurgent Italians...:P

So your asking, why did I ally with Spain.. easy, the Spanish are at war with the English and fighting over French territory.. So I own Italy, and keeping the Med quiet as my Strong fleet transfered to the Eastern Med as I am fighting the Eggys

So while Spain has a BIG fleet at Granada to guard against the ENglish.. the Spanish left me to own the Central Med with a few Hungarian ships in the Central and a few Byz ships in the East... but I am the dominant fleet there.

By this time, I figure 1220.. you should have several stacks to hold Rome from those annoying Vatican appearences...

so Italy is Unified, with you pretty much going after Eggylands for the cash to help cranking out troops to keep any ressurent groups away...

Part 3

Granada

This one deals with a quick strike against the Almos, and keep going...Ally with EVERYBODY you can! since your concentrating one 1 faction

The trick is to get a quick alliance out of the Spanish/Aragon/Portugese.. once again, your going after those mines, trade goods to build up a strong cash flow

1) Take Tunisia
2) Build up troops fast in Sicily and gallys in Malta, since youl be using them to keep North africa stanle and attack Almo shipping...
3) Keep the Fleet strong (5 ships per stack) along the Spanish coast to keep the Castilians/Aragons honest/fleetless

The North African Areas are easy to take, it is the Spain part that is a tremendous pain-in-the-rear....:(

That is where the Castilians/Aragon/Portugese come in, as the Almos are looking at a 2 front war with dwindiling $... so they won't last too long...

Try to keep Portugal alive, since those 2 provinces will keep Spain honest and not becoming too "over-powerful". The same goes with Aragon... Try to make sure all 3 survive, as there is a tendancy for SPain to own it all.. you want them alive, and not powerful....

At this point there are 2 main diversions...

a) Take SPain and head north (England/FRance)
b) Stay in the Med & go east (Eggyland/Byz)

So diplomacy and backstabs are in order here...also opprotunistic land grabs as well, as those 3 states will be broke from buying all those men, and you'll have the stronger econ, where you can pick and choose if you want to take Spain for yourself.

With my games, the Spainish are too powerful and take it, so I go east and go after the Eggys or the Byz (especially the Islands & Naples/Greece)

So at the point of the Almos going down, keep Morocco defended with around 2 stacks and a small (5 ship) fleet just in case the Almos come back in Granada.. but the key is to TAKE GRANADA..:P and Cordoba if you can take it somehow.